My Experience as an RJ: Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander

As a communicator and a thinker I always have this need to do more and better. When an opportunity came to be an RJ on Radio Active, the 1st thought that came to my mind was-Can I? Should I? Will I? The diehard in me said it is not rocket science go ahead, so I had a discussion with Pinky Chandran and Beula Anthony from Radio Active.

We commonly understood what we wanted? why are we doing it?  and when are we doing it? Once we got the answers for the above the How part became clear.

What did we want? – Since COVID-19 has loomed large in all our lives we decided that I will host a Special Series on this theme. To do this I listed out all the possible reasons that people may want to listen to. Knowledge, reference, just to listen or any other reason?

Why were we doing it? To bring awareness as to how people from different walks of life were addressing/handling COVI-19. Be it nationally, locally or globally. So I made a list of probable experts/resource persons and reached out them.

When are we doing it? We decided that the show will be aired once a week for around 30 minutes. We will call it “Talk It Over” and designed a poster to use as communication material for dissemination.

How did I do it?

  • Listed out the names of people I wanted to interview
  • Ensured that they come different backgrounds
  • Read articles that they may have been written by the concerned person or produced by the organisation they belong to…

Interview with Dr. Meena Nair, Head-Research at Public Affairs Centre (PAC) a think tank based in Bengaluru. The following was covered in the interview.

Source: Radio Active File Photo September 2019

Introducing PAC Dr. Meena highlighted that PAC has been working in the areas of governance and Public service delivery in the last 25 years. As an organisation it continues to evolve to ensure that their research is relevant to stakeholders they engage with.

Dr. Nair added that one of the key methods is to use Social Accountability Tools (SATs) like the Citizen Report Card (CRC) Community Score Card (CSC) etc. to receive feedback from the community and feed it back to policy makers. This is primarily to ensure that community-led action is effective.

“We focus on Primary Health Care, education, livelihoods, women and Child Development and social welfare, especially of vulnerable populations”.

This is done to ensure that an entire life cycle approach is attempted. This ideally helps us to achieve sustainable solutions, which are mostly community-led. This has also brought in community ownership, since once we leave the project area the community is able to continue without any hindrance.

COVID-19 has certainly not stopped us from working with communities, but has certainly changed our approach to engaging with the community. We need to work towards a state of Readiness to deal with pandemics like COVID-19. This is done through the bottom-up approach and a supply-side approach. To do this it is important to create awareness and also fine tune existing service delivery systems. This approach ensures better food, health and education securities. This is what the community needs during such times to feel-safety and security. Though we miss the face-to-face interactions we have an effective method of working closely with the District Level Project Offices (DLPOs) who represent PAC in gathering information from the community.

Key Takeaways

  • Encourage participation from community
  • This brings ownership and sustainability
  • Pandemics may come and go but engaging with communities using a different approach ensures safety and security to the community

Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander

Executive Director

Public Affairs Foundation

RJ of Talk it Over, RadioActive

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